Can inanimate objects "call" a group of human beings?

Rushes

Senior Member
French - France
Can a safety system "call" the emergency staff at the hospital?
To me, it sounds strange. Would you not rather say: "this safety system informs (calls*) the emergency staff at the hospital that an old person is having a heart attack and then they send a doctor to their home"?
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't know about France, but around here we get phone calls from inanimate objects all the time; computers call me with messages from politicians, "polls" that are actually messages from politicians, even our kids' schools have automated systems to call us with important messages. I have no problem with saying that a system "calls" someone.
     

    Rushes

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Not at the moment (thanks goodness maybe...:))! Does this imply that if the "safety system" is not actually speaking (I mean uttering a string of human words and not a "beep sound meaning danger"), I can't use "call", but if it actually informs the doctor with words such as "hard attack", I could use the verb to "call"?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    If it's just some kind of buzzer or something that goes off, I would say that it "alerts." But I got the impression from your post that an actual phone call was being made. Maybe I should have asked for more context up front; what does this system actually do?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Ah, okay. I wouldn't use "call" then. I was picturing something more like the Life Alert system, where someone actually talks to emergency services. I'm still not really picturing how the system you're writing about works (how does it know someone's having a heart attack, and how do they know where to respond?), but I guess I don't need to.
     
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